THESIS RESEARCH

INTENTION STATEMENT

I intend to create a personalized portal for college students with mental health disorders that will 

allow them to find treatment and professionals most beneficial to their needs.

RESEARCH TOOLS

Survey

 

What: Sent out a survey to college students with mental health disorders. The respondents filled out the survey containing questions about their mental health support while at college.

 

Results: Pain points that frustrate college students during the journey to support include not liking their doctor, red tape and technical issues during the process, and lack of motivation when the process gets difficult.

Case Studies

 

What: Went through current mental health apps to see how they approach user input.

 

Results: Personalization is key; there needs to be a way for users to feel like their account is made to fit their needs.

Focus Group

 

What: Had open discussion with a small group of interviewees who talked about their needs and wants during the treatment process.

 

Results: Before the process, there is a necessity for personalization of preferences on the user’s end based both on the user’s personality and general needs of the user to match them with treatment best for them. During the process, there is a need for reinforcement and a way to track progress. 

Secondary Research

 

What: Researched information about college students and mental health treatment options; statistics regarding who, what, when, and how treatment occurs.

 

Results: College students are at a vulnerable time for mental health treatments as they are at an age when many mental health disorders surface, they are away from home, and their age group is least likely to reach out for help.

Interviews

 

What: Interviewed college students with mental health disorders about mental health treatment they have received and what pain points were present along the way. 

 

Results: All respondents wanted to give up trying to get professional help at some point for many reasons. The most common were not liking a doctor, long wait times, and having issues with insurance or payment. 

USER NEEDS

The mental health journey isn’t linear. 

There is no clear end point and no right answer to what to do. Each person’s journey is different and will require different treatment. Because of this, there are two areas of the process that design can aid. 

Before Treatment

 

Personal needs and preferences

Personality characteristics 

During Treatment

Reinforcement

Visualization of process

ECOSYSTEM

PEOPLE

 

college students

therapists

counselors

psychiatrists

mentors

PLACES

 

doctors’ offices

college campus

personal space

ACTIVITIES

 

motivating

advising

seeking help

having symptoms

making improvements

decision making

TRENDS

 

tracking symptoms

journaling

online therapy

breaking the stigma

PERSONA

 “I have anxiety and have had treatment experience in the past, but I am not sure what services my campus offers or if I would 

benefit from them.”

Jamie just started her first year of college and is away from home for the first time. She has struggled with anxiety and depression, but these have been worse since starting school. Even though Jamie has seen a psychiatrist in the past, she needs to find new professional help close to her college campus. 

Personality

Introverted

Inflexible

Unmotivated

Behaviors

Busy Bee: Busy class and work schedule 

The Rester: Likes to relax with time she has

The Intellect: Likes to think and be pushed

Goals

Decide what treatment is best

Make a treatment plan to fit around busy schedule

Find a professional that she feels comfortable around

Obstacles

Lack of education on mental health treatment

Being away from home and support system

Lack of motivation to search for a doctor

WHY THIS MATTERS

Extroverted

 

Flexible

Motivated

Awareness and access to mental health treatment is important for college students. 1 in 5 college students struggle with mental health issues, with the majority of them beginning to show symptoms of these disorders from age 18-24. 

 

Having design aid in pain points during the process of finding mental health treatment will allow this age group to personalize the experience to find the professionals and treatment that best suits their needs.